Need for Speed

Introduce

Jeff Gordon’s need for speed showed up almost as soon as he could balance a bicycle. Gordon would fly down the hill near his California home, only to scramble back up to the top to begin his descent again.

Gordon, now 24, has moved past bicycles. He’s at the top of the auto racing world, winning the 1995 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) championship.

His rainbow-colored No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo can travel nearly 200 miles per hour in races as long as 600 miles.

(The bodies of stock cars resemble the street cars that most people drive, but they have only one seat, a souped-up engine and much more safety equipment.

Early Success

need-for-speed-2Gordon knows how to get places in a hurry.

He started competing in organized bicycle races when he was 4. But he quickly moved to quarter-midgets, small racers with engines about as powerful as lawnmowers.

In Gordon’s second year of racing quarter-midgets he won 36 races. At age 8, he won a national championship. He followed up with a second national title, eventually branching out into go-carts and sprint cars.

By the time Gordon was 16, he was beating drivers more than twice his age. [Read more…]